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Momentum carries Packers

BOB PUTNAM
Published May 2, 2003

SEMINOLE - All week John Demko worried how his Largo boys would fare against defending Class 3A, District 10 champion Seminole and Lakewood.

This coming from a coach whose team won the Osceola Relays, the Richard Allen Relays, the West Coast Invitational and the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet.

Demko's concerns were soothed quickly. The Packers, with a deep, balanced roster, scored 174 to win their first district title since 1995.

"This was real big for us to win and keep our momentum going," Demko said. "There were some other good teams here and our depth really paid off for us."

Largo won five events and placed in the top eight in all but one. A disqualification of one of its runners in the 100 meters was only thing that prevented Largo from scoring in every event.

Torian Johnson (110 hurdles), Jose Maclao (300 hurdles), Richard Scelzi (pole vault) and Brian McClymont (1600 meters) won titles for Largo. McClymont also teamed with Karim Adelberry, Christopher Ford and Matt Timm to win the 4x800 relay.

Dixie Hollins' Kevin Marion, the state record holder in the long jump, is down to one event, the 200 meters.

Marion decided not to participate in the long jump and false started in the 100. He redeemed himself in the 200, winning in 21.76 seconds.

Boca Ciega was second with 101 points. Leonard Genes (triple jump) and Shamen Washington (long jump) each won individual titles for the Pirates. Their 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams also won.

Others winners included Countryside's Pat Lynch (shot put), Dunedin's Andrew McClure (discus), Countryside's Isaiah Gwyn (high jump), Lakewood's Pat Carter (100) and Chester Johnson (400), East Lake's Nate McPherson (800) and Seminole's Ken Magee (3,200).

SPC relay gets it done

WESLEY CHAPEL - St. Petersburg Catholic coach Jeff Ehlert told his 4x800 relay team to run an 8:04 at the Class 2A, Region 3 meet.

Ask, and ye shall receive.

The relay squad of Tony Cormier, Brian Sullivan, Bobby Wevich and Samuel Secord won the region title in 8:04.37.

"My goal was 8:04," Ehlert said. "But we haven't really been tested this season in the 4x800."

That test will have to come at next week's Class 2A state meet at Percy Beard Stadium in Gainesville, where Gulliver Prep's 4x800 team awaits with a time of 8:01.

St. Petersburg Catholic brought just six boys to the region meet, good enough for fifth place at the region, scoring 42 and missing fourth place by 1.5 points. They'll have plenty to do next week.

Secord won the 800 (1:58.61) and Cormier was second (2:00.55). Cormier also was third in the 1,600 (4:32.66).

Clearwater Central Catholic's Kevin Lyons beat Jesuit's Andy Biladeu in the 3,200, 9:33.48 to 9:36.70, in a battle of the state's elite runners.

Osceola's Phaysawan Sengphrachanh qualified for state in the pole vault (12), finishing fourth.

- JAMAL THALJI

Wharton dominates

TAMPA - Wharton put an emphatic end on a dominant performance in the Class 4A, District 5 meet, finishing the 4x400 relay in 3 minutes, 26 seconds, six seconds ahead of Chamberlain in the final event. The Wildcats easily won the championship over second-place Gaither.

Wharton got some unexpected wins, such as Jeff Johnson in the 300 hurdles (39.83). He edged Hillsborough's James Patrick at the finish, winning by .05 second.

"I've been to regionals three times in the hurdles and fallen short. I hope the third time's a charm," Johnson said, referring to next week's region meet at Palm Beach Lakes Dwyer.

Leto's Kostyantyn Fedorenko won both the 1,600 (4:36) and 3,200 (10:27). Kejuan Young also won two events, the long jump (21-2) and the triple jump (43-5).

Gaither's Doc Marshall said his win in the 100 (10.98) over Wharton's Jovan Mitchell and Clearwater's Jason Harris was "an upset."

"Everyone was talking about how fast (Mitchell) was," Marshall said. "I knew I could do it but wasn't sure. I got off to a bad start and had to push more, but I made up for it. I just kept pumping."

Marshall also was second in the 200 behind Gibbs' Rashad Etheridge (22.56). Mitchell made up for his loss in the 100 as anchor of Wharton's winning 4x100 relay team (43.19).

- JEREMY RASMUSSEN

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